Sushil Reddy Shares Takeaways From His E-Car Journey: Part 1

Sushil Reddy is known for expeditions on electric vehicles such as e-bikes and e-cars. Through his journeys, he aims to inform people about the benefits of solar energy
Sushil with his e-car
Sushil with his e-carSushil Reddy

Starting September 12, 2023, Sushil Reddy and his team ventured on a 60-day, 7500+ km journey on an electric car across India to raise awareness about e-mobility as a part of The SunPedal Ride project. The trip started from Mumbai and made a clockwise loop back to Mumbai as per this route map.

Route map shared by Sushil
Route map shared by SushilSushil Reddy

Sharing takeaways from his journey, Reddy writes:

Tips To Charge E-Cars On Long Expeditions In India

Sushil's Mahindra XUV400 electric car on its way to Nashik
Sushil's Mahindra XUV400 electric car on its way to NashikSushil Reddy

Today, more than 50 companies in India are setting up EV charging stations. Each of them has a mobile application which can be downloaded to explore the location and details of the EV charger. PlugShare is another common free resource to discover any charging station across India. One can always look at the electric car's range, map the EV charging stations and plan the charging stops accordingly. My tip would be to plan for multiple charging options to be safe. 

How To Charge E-Cars Outdoors In The Rain

Sushil's e-car at the charging station
Sushil's e-car at the charging stationSushil Reddy

On day 5 of my journey from Dhule to Indore on the Mahindra XUV400 electric car, an orange weather alert was declared on this route for two days with unprecedented rainfall and stormy wind predictions.

The travel distance from Dhule to Indore is 280 kilometres. We started from Dhule with 84 per cent SoC (State of Charge of the battery) and a dashboard range of 290 kilometres. There are 3 EV DC fast chargers on this route. The initial plan was to stop at either of these for a quick top-up charge, which would have been enough to reach Indore without range anxiety. But the weather gods had other plans.

As soon as we left Dhule on the Mumbai-Agra highway, it started raining heavily. After covering 130 kilometres, we reached Rajhans Hotel with two 30 kW DC fast charging connectors. We realised frequent power outages and backup DG sets were being used. These EV chargers were switched off for safety due to an erratic voltage input.

Sushil's e-car at the charging station
Sushil's e-car at the charging stationSushil Reddy

Slow charging was the only option with a reliable power source to have enough battery to reach the destination in Indore. Fortunately, we found an Indian Oil Petrol Pump after 50 kilometres, where we stopped and charged the EV with a 16 Amp socket in the pouring rain. It took 2 hours for a 20-kilometre top-up charge due to the low input voltage from the DG set. The electricity grid was cut off due to the storm. The journey took much longer than expected, but we had a good learning experience.

So yes, you can charge the EV outdoors in the rain, but with a few precautions. Water and electronics don't go well together, and dealing with 400 Volts of EV architecture during rain can be tricky. Never hold the EV charging connector with bare, wet hands. Wear rubber soles; do not expose the connector cable directly to water. The source socket should be dry, and if you carry an extension cord, the connection point should also be kept dry. Also, don't use the charger if it is located in a waterlogged area. The charger is built to withstand water intrusion to an extent.

The More You Run It, The More Economical It Gets

Sushil with his e-car
Sushil with his e-carSushil Reddy

Let's calculate the per-kilometre cost of running the electric car considering the cost of electricity as "fuel." Below are the numbers from my journey experience

The Mahindra XUV 400 electric car has a battery capacity of 39.4 kWh, and the average range of this electric car is 250 kilometres per charge.

At a 60 kW DC Fast Charger -

Duration of Charging = 50 minutes 

Battery Level changed from 43 per cent to 94 per cent. 

Units added = 20 kWh

Expenses = INR 402 (including SGST and CGST)

Using a 3.3 kW AC portable charger in a 16 amp 3 pin socket -

Duration of Charging = 10 hours

Battery Level changed from 30 per cent to 83 per cent

Units added = 22 kWh 

Expenses = INR 220/- (considering 10 rupees per unit of electricity) 

Based on these numbers, the per-kilometre cost for the Mahindra XUV 400 electric car is around INR 3/- per kilometre. 

The equivalent petrol/diesel car running cost is at least INR 10/- per kilometre. 

To read takeaways Part 2, click here !

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